Gary Neville’s wait for a first league win in charge of Valencia continued when his side rescued a late draw at home to La Liga strugglers Rayo Vallecano. Los Che were big favourites to finally get off the mark under the English coach this weekend, but once again fell short, and in fact were fortunate to come away with a point after such an abysmal first-half showing.
The underdogs even took the lead through Jozabed in the 15th minutes and led going into the break. Against the run of play in the second-half, Valencia responded through Alvaro Negredo, who out of nowhere struck an effort from distance to level the match. Rayo were resilient and edged themselves in front through Diego Llorente, before Paco Alcacer levelled the game in the dying minutes.
The result meant Valencia finished the weekend 11 after 20 games, extending their winless run to nine in the Spanish La Liga, while increasing the pressure on Neville. Should Los Che continue to drop points so readily, the former Premier League star could find himself enduring a similar fate as his predecessor, but Neville was nevertheless pleased with his side’s fighting spirit to come from behind twice.
Points slowly ticking over
However, the single point doesn’t aid Valencia too much in their quest for a strong finish in the league table, and Neville has now gone seven games without a win in the division. The side have also been unable to pick up a clean sheet during his spell at the Mestalla, but they could well turn things around in the coming weeks given the teams next up for Los Che.
An out-of-form Deportivo La Coruna make the trip to Valencia next weekend, before the likes of Sporting Gijon, Real Betis, Espanyol and Granada face Gary Neville’s men in the coming weeks. While talk of his exit is certainly premature, Neville could struggle to see the season out if he’s still winless as Valencia manager by the end of their next five games.
The Spanish club were struggling ahead of his arrival, but they have been used to finishing in and around the top-four each season for a number of years so they won’t accept failure. Given the 40-year-old joined at the start of December, he certainly had time on his side to turn things around, but his influence has arguably seen results worsen. In four of the last six seasons, Valencia have finished in the European spots, but they are struggling for a top-half place as things stand.
Can Gary Neville turn things round?